The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

State News

July 2, 2014

Pittsburgh wants tailgaters to stop trashing city

PITTSBURGH — City and county officials are mulling several new policies – including limiting tailgating hours in stadium parking lots – to avoid messes like the one left behind by 50,000 fans after the Luke Bryan concert at Heinz Field last month.

That June 21 concert and another last year featuring Kenny Chesney, also at Heinz Field, prompted Tuesday’s discussion involving government and parking officials, representatives of the city’s three major sports teams and others at Mayor Bill Peduto’s office.

“He wants the city to keep holding these large events,” Peduto spokesman Tim McNulty said after the meeting. “He just wants to do it in a way that’s safe and clean and doesn’t unduly tax the police bureau and public works.”

Peduto issued a statement the morning after the concert, when crews were still cleaning up garbage left behind by tailgating fans, saying, “The continued trashing of our city has to stop.”

While the specific policies have yet to be determined, one idea that came out of the meeting is limiting tailgating to five hours before an event. Lots opened for tailgating eight hours before the Luke Bryan show, which began at 6 p.m.

The city may also consider requiring event promoters to pay a deposit that could be used to defray cleanup expenses.

Peduto’s chief of staff has said the cleanup bill is in the unspecified “tens of thousands of dollars” and the administration has threatened to bill Live Nation Entertainment for the cost. The California-based promotion company declined comment on the meeting.

The Pittsburgh Steelers, who control the stadium, estimated the concert generated about $650,000 in parking and ticket taxes and other fees.

The aftermath of the Luke Bryan show wasn’t as bad as the Kenny Chesney show last year, when crews cleaned up more than 45,000 pounds of garbage, some of it containing human waste. Still, crews were forced to clean up mounds of trash in stadium lots, surrounding neighborhoods and the Allegheny River.

Merrill Stabile, whose Alco Parking Corp. operates most of the stadium lots, said he favors limiting tailgating hours. Jimmy Sacco, who directs stadium management for the Steelers, said the meeting was productive.

“We had a good discussion,” Sacco said. “We’re all working together.”

Officials hope to have new rules in place before a Jason Aldean concert July 26 at PNC Park and an international soccer match between Manchester City and AC Milan at Heinz Field the next day.

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